Saturday, September 10, 2011

Trollhunter (2011) - 4/5

Once again I found myself at the hopelessness of being bombarded by great comments about a 'found footage' film. Once again, I waited thinking 'found footage films suck'. Once again, I found myself completely engrossed with a found footage film that makes the format seem brilliant even though often enough it's horrible. This time around its the Norwegian film "Trollhunter" and its odd combination of fantasy, adventure, and humor rolls into a rather rambunctiously fun trip into the odd life of a trollhunter working for the Norwegian government in secret.

A group of college kids have decided to track an elusive bear poacher in the Norwegian forests. Their exploits, all caught on footage for a documentary, lead them to find Hans, a mysterious man who spends all night trampling through the woods. When Hans decides to let them tag along for the ride and film his job, the students realize that not all fairy tales are false and this bear poacher turns out to be a one man army out to exterminate trolls who collide with society.

By the time "Trollhunter" ended, my face hurt. This was because for the entire length of the film, I had an extensive smile plastered across my mug. This little indie Norwegian film simply rocked its concept. The film certainly has some structuring flaws to it, including an ending that seems to just cut off with little falling action, but the fact of the matter remains that the filmmakers and those on screen sell this movie as real as it could be. Utilizing the 'found footage' to its maximum capacity and a stunningly convincing performance from Hans the trollhunter, by the end of the film its hard not to believe what you watched was real even with its hit or miss CGI trolls. The execution of the film is pretty solid with only a few structuring problems and edits to take away from the experience and it just sells the movie as gold.

Partner the exquisite performances (Hans is hilarious in his tired and trodden look of a wore out man) with the stellar writing and "Trollhunter" just simply impresses. The way the film goes about crafting the realism of the trolls is both hilarious and fascinating. How Hans and the vet explain the various nuances of troll lives, culture, and biology is clever and witty combining the myth with the real. It works with relative ease to get the point of the film across and becomes a highlight for this picture.

"Trollhunter" may not be a perfect film due to some of its limitations, but the witty script and well versed performances contained in the film work the magic to make this entertaining romp fly. It's just such an unique experience that one can't help but be sucked into the film's gloriously real feel. It almost made me believe that trolls might be living in the woods behind my place...almost.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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